Gospel Reading: John 11: 1-44
Easter is the revolutionary act that changes the course of human and earthly history. A God enters the world and becomes a man, and then, though it were possible to do otherwise, allows himself to die on a cross. And why? Because Easter.
Something utterly transformative happens through the Easter event. Without death, there could be no resurrection. Or could there?
When Jesus hears that Lazarus is ill, he chooses to stay in Galilee, rather than go to him and heal him. It is for the glory of God, that God may be revealed. This is hard to understand unless we have a picture that death is not a permanent end but a transformation that brings about a birth in another form.
Lazarus, with his sisters, is a close friend of Jesus. This is not a statement of personal preference and sentiment but expresses rather the intimacy and connection they share with Jesus and what he has come to do. They are, to the best of their abilities, united with his mission.
What is this mission? simply said, it is to reveal God. But not through the expression of his divine power that would force humanity into submission or a place of dependency upon this God King who has come to earth.
Rather, he has come to awaken us to the divine within, to our power to become more than our egotism would allow us to become. To become what we were meant to become–those created in God’s image. God is love, and so we too were created to become those who can love like God.
After his calling back from death, Lazarus receives a new life. He goes on to become the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved, the one who can stand beneath the Cross (with Mary) as a witness to Jesus’ death, and Christ’s birth into a new connection with the earth and human beings. He is able to hold this tremendous spiritual act and report on it and much more in the Gospel he writes and the Revelation he receives later. This new life gives him eventually a new name: John.
We do not appear to have died as we walk around the world and live our lives. But many of us come to a point when we recognize that we are not yet fully alive, and we seek a higher kind of wholeness.
When we come to the service, and stand up and walk to the altar to receive Communion, we enter into this mystery of Love. We make ourselves open to the transformation that this Love offers to us, as his resurrection body and blood are offered to us, and finally, his peace.
I stand at peace with the world… This peace is also offered to us, in that we engage with him who overcomes the forces of death within us, and strive to be those who through our humble earthly bodies are able to reveal the divine.